What is your favorite kata?

Just to spark some conversation... If you practice forms/katas/sets, what is your favorite one and why?

One of the forms I learned in HKD was very slow, filled with big circular arm movements and low stances. It also flowed nicely from end to beginning again, so you could repeat it endlessly. When we went on retreats, we'd warm up with it every morning, 10 or 15 times in a row.
They called it by a couple names, Kul Wan was one of the them.
It's one of the only ones I always remember.

Kanku-Dai (Kusanku)

Don't really know why. Possibly because I have a good Vince Morris bunkai (applications) tape which helped make it seem real to me.

Then again I have a crap Taika Oyata Kusanku tape which put me right off it again.

My favorite is a karate kata named Nijushiho. It contains very few, IMO, typical karate techniques. Trying to figure out what the rather strange movements are for forces you to think out of the box.

Even the name is great. Although it translates to "24 steps" it can also be translated to "24 fighting chickens" and maybe "24 fighting chickens marching to victory."

Now how can you not like that?


I learned a much older version of Nijushiho (i.e. Niseishi) from Patrick McCarthy, along with some pretty cool applictions that were far from obvious in the modern shotokan version.

Chaun 2 is my favorite. It is a kenpo form ( I dont know the name in American or Parker Kenpo) It is all counters to grabs/ bear hugs and stuff like that. To me about 75-85 % of the techniques are realistic. I might be able to dig up some video of it. Of course, any video of me doing a from is a piss poor represetation of it, becuase I move very ackwardly.

Naihanchi Shodan from Shorin ryu was cool.

8 Palm Changes or Yang Tai Ji. I like the palm changes because of the great leg workout, the direction changes, and coiling. I like Taiji because it covers alot of movement plus its moving meditation.

siu nim tao - i like it cos i don't have to get into a deep horse stance :-)

When I use to practice Hung Gar, it was "Tiger and Crane" for the reasons that it was invented by the infamous Wong Fei Hung and also that it contained every technique in the Hung Gar system. In short, this was the one form that I practiced when I was pressed for time to train.

goshin jitsu kata and kime no kata from kodokan judo..all jujitsu self defense moves against holds, punches, kicks and weapons...although i must say, some of the methodology in how the kata is to be done is not always the best method in being the most effective..

still, each kata has over 20 techniques designed to show the elements of jujitsu self defense and with these techniques, the judoka strikes prior to intiating a joint lock or choke...

Much as I hate kata, the 2 I hate the least are Goshin Jitsu and Yang-Style TJQ long form.

I agree with Wayland the Judo kata seem much more practical then some of the Karate and Kungfu katas.

There is a Judo kata, which I forgot then name of, which essentially is the counters to the major throws of Judo. This Kata was said to have been designed by Kyzuo Mifune.

m.g. it is called gonosen no kata and you can find it here


has anyone who is not a judo student studied any judo kata's or the self defense ones i posted above?

as a judo and jujitsu student, i would be very interested in seeing other kata's, particularly the kung fu kata's...

do karate and kung fu kata's incorporate practice with an opponent? do they use weapons in their kata in the context of defending against attacks?

good thread and topic..

one footnote...in royce gracies self defense book, many of the moves that are shown in there are the same moves seen in the judo self defense kata's...

i have also studied aiki jujitsu and seen many similar moves in their kata along the same lines as kodokan judo goshin jitsu and kime no kata...

this makes me think about the chicken vs the egg senario..that is, how much was taken from traditional jujitsu schools (like aiki for instance), and how many were adapted from kodokan judo (like gracies techniques)...

any thoughts or comments?

wayland, I can answer this :

"do karate and kung fu kata's incorporate practice with an opponent? do they use weapons in their kata in the context of defending against attacks? "

but of course, only from the context of how I was taught, you mileage may vary.

I study a Kenpo based style of kung fu. When we are taught a form, we ALWAYS work the applcations to that form as it is being taught. So if the form has a defence to a right hook, people are going to throw right hooks at you and you are going to defend.

Also, there are several forms that are "two man sets" these are usually taught where you learn "both sides" of the form as a solo form, then you go back and put the two halfs together.

Another drill we use is called a "circle drill" this is when you will stand in the middle of a circle of other students w will be sent to attack you. What they are allowed to attack with and you are supposed to defend with will vary. It may be you are supposed to take just a particular form or "family" of forms and use the attacks and defenses from there, or it may be totally free form, they attack with what they want, and you defend with whatever you want, be it from a form, from a self defence, kick boxing , SC, what ever comes to mind.

Also, as kali is part of what we are taught, sometimes you will need to disarm an attacker. ( or more likely get a rubber knife in the ribs, or one of the kids soft kali sticks across the skull)


Well...you sort of hit on to something.

The original Gracie Jiu-jitsu teaching protocol as taught by the original Gracie brothers (Carlos, Oswaldo, George, Gastao, Helio) was made up of about 40 or so core techniques with more than half being stand-up self defense type the rest being ground fighting techniques that were self-defense oriented (how to escape headlocks while on the ground etc).

The more sport oriented jiu-jitsu techniques that are similar to Judo didn't really come into Gjj until the Gracie student began to compete against each other and other schools. The same can be said about the NHB techniques.

Through the years the ratio of what was taught (self-defense type technique and sport/NHB technique) changed. It went from 50 - 50 to 80 - 20 in favor of sport techniques. Old school Gjj practitioners like Helio still teach those SD techniques along side the sport technique (one complaint Helio had about many Bjj schools is they don't teach any Bjj SD techniques).

I've always felt that since Gjj's SD techniques are much much more closely related to alot of the SD techniques of Judo and traditional JJJ that Gjj had a much stronger connection to that then the more sport oriented Judo and that the sport Judo techniques in which Gjj has in common actually came into Gjj much later from Judo via the Gjj students who had experience in Judo.

Oswaldo Alves, a well known Brazilian Bjj instructor who has taught and coach many well Bjj competitor, trained in both Gjj and Judo. He even trained in Japan with Kimura and Isao Okano. He states, and this is on record, that he introduced alot of techniques from Judo to Gjj. He also said he introduced many conditioning drills he learn from his training in Japan. the one thing I thought was very interesting ws he stated that all the side control techniques in Bjj came from him and he got them from Kimura while training with him in Japan.

So what we recognize in bjj as Judo most likely came from Oswaldo Alves who got it from his training with Kimura in Japan. The SD techniques of Bjj are most likely derived from the SD techniques of Judo and JJJ which came from Maeda.

m.g....thanks for the wonderful explanation..now, why can't some posters on the UG take this simple, historical fact and put it on the shelf with the others? this type of post is best here i think..

as far as i can see, when i look at old judo texts and videos (mifune's kodokan judo for instance), i see many of these self defense techniques that you describe, with much of it being from a ground postion or someone standing over top and the person on the ground...that being said, your explanation makes perfect sense to me..

with aiki jujitsu, i see more similar veins with the defence techniques...although, the moves more closely resemble aikido (ie. ikkyo, nikyo, sankyo, yonkyo, shio nage etc.), except for the classic linear judo type throws (ie. osotogari)...this also makes sense as that ueshiba was a daito ryu aiki jujitsu master prior to his developing aikido...

for our forum members who study karate, i am mostly interested in their link to the jujitsu schools as well..which ones? what lineage? how has both the kata and style evolved over the years?

the kodokan was a place to study ALL martial arts including kendo, jujitsu, karate, sumo etc., it did not become the judo mecca until after kano's death and the other "non-judo" activities were not welcomed as much...too bad, as that from what i can surmise, kano did not want a) sportive judo or Olympic judo b) the kodokan to be only judo, he want it for all the arts (kodokan=place to study the way)..


but m.g., I read on the UG that GJJ sprang forth from Carlson and Helio Gracie like the phoneix, and any similairty to any other martial art is coincendence.

(that is sarcasim by the way)

Niahanchi Sho
Bassai Dai

My three favorites

All The Best